Christopher Bell holds a giant lobster while celebrating with his wife, Morgan.

Christopher Bell wins at New Hampshire to join NASCAR Cup playoff field

Christopher Bell holds a giant lobster while celebrating with his wife, Morgan.

Christopher Bell holds a 21-pound lobster as he celebrates with his wife, Morgan, after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Charles Krupa / The Associated Press)

Christopher Bell made it to the NASCAR playoffs on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and became the 14th Cup Series winner this season.

“She was sorely needed right there,” said Bell, 27.

Bell mastered the track, where he won Xfinity Series races in 2018, 2019 and 2021, catching last week’s winner Chase Elliott at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bell is the 14th driver to make it to the 16-driver playoff ground. With six races remaining in the regular season, this leaves the possibility open that drivers over 16 may win a race and the final playoff spot or spots will be decided on points.

That’s another day’s worry for Bell.

Bell followed Elliot late and cruised into the number 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. His only other Cup win came in the second race of the 2021 season at the Daytona Road Course Race.

Elliot Hendricks finished second for Motorsports and third for Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing. Martin Truex Jr. dominated early and finished fourth. And Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.

Bell gave JGR its fourth win this season and 12th in New Hampshire.

Bell was one of those drivers who had to worry about his playoff chances for the rest of the summer. He entered the race in 16th place on the points table – 19 above the cutline.

His biggest concern on Sunday was trying to handle the 21-pound lobster given to the winner.

“Earlier this year, I felt like we were right on the verge of winning,” Bell said. “Over the past few weeks, I felt we were too far. Now, here we are today.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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